Restart the Finder in Mac OS X

Jan 14, 2012 - 6 Comments

Need to quickly restart the Finder in Mac OS X? The quickest way to do that is by using the Dock:

  • Hold down Option key and Right Click on Finder’s Dock icon, then select “Relaunch”

Option+Right Click reveals the otherwise hidden “Relaunch” option in the menu. Selecting that option causes the Finder to quit and restart itself, and the entire desktop will be refreshed in the process. Additionally, any changes made to Finder with defaults commands or other customizations will take effect with the relaunch.

Restarting Finder can be a helpful troubleshooting tip for some strange behaviors that may occur on the Mac desktop, and it’s much faster and less obtrusive than a full system reboot.

Outside of troubleshooting purposes, many customizations and defaults write commands require restarting the Finder for the changes to take effect. Although since you’re usually in the Terminal when using those, the Finder can also be restarted directly from the command line with the following:

killall Finder

Because the Finder is a process just like any other application on the Mac, you can also quit the Finder and treat it like any other application with a force quit or ‘kill’ command, thereby having it stay closed completely. Note that leaving the Finder app closed will hide the desktop, icons, and file system browser, which may not be desirable for all users.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

6 Comments

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  1. Alex says:

    Two fingered option click for MacBook Pro, great trick

  2. Coengi says:

    You can also add a quit option to finder, I did that, then you can enjoy your entire desktop, should be as an article to I quess:) regards
    Coen

  3. Sue Dunham says:

    What the heck is wrong with ⌘ ⌥ esc?

  4. SMcCandlish says:

    If you find that Finder won’t restart sometimes the normal ways, have not debugged the problem yet, and do not want to memorize “/System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/MacOS/Finder” to relaunch it in Terminal, do this commandline instead: “sudo ln -s /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/MacOS/Finder /usr/local/bin/Finder” and make sure /usr/local/bin is in your path. This will create a symlink (alias) of Finder in your path so that all you have to do is get into a Terminal window and enter “Finder”.

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